Patients can find it hard to cope and need to be able to talk through their emotions.

LINC Clinical Psychology Team

What is the service?

With the help of funding from LINC and from Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the Haematology Psychology Service provides a dedicated and integrated psychology service to the haematology team in Gloucestershire. We are a small team of two clinical psychologists – Dr Nicky Dobbin (2 days a week) and Dr Rachael Edge (3 days a week).

We offer a range of emotional support to people who have experienced or are affected by a haematological cancer and this includes supporting patients and their families / carers to prepare for, and cope with, the psychological impact and demands of bone marrow and stem cell transplants. In addition to direct work with patients and their families, we also support the haematology team and other health care professionals to provide physical health care in a way which recognises and meets the psychological and emotional needs of patients and families. We have both spent a minimum of six years training before qualifying and are trained to understand thoughts, emotions, behaviours and relationships.

Psychologists are not the same as psychiatrists, who are medical doctors trained to treat mental illness and we do not prescribe medicine or admit people into hospital.

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I was trying to be brave in front of my family but the clinical psychologist told me that it was alright to cry.

Patient quote

Why have this service?

Having a haematological cancer, like other very serious illnesses, can be difficult for anyone to cope with. Many people will find they can cope themselves, or with the support of family and friends and their health care team. Some problems may also benefit from the help of a clinical psychologist who specialises in how to cope with the stresses and strains of haematological conditions and the treatments for these. For example, some people might say:

  • It all happened so fast – one minute it was life as normal and I felt well, the next I was being told I was seriously ill and would need to spend months in hospital! I just can’t get my head around what’s happened to me’
  • I don’t feel unwell but I’m told it’s very serious – it all seems really unreal
  • I’ve been told I have this illness but I have to wait for it to get worse before it can be treated – it’s like standing in the road waiting for a bus to hit me
  • Since my wife became ill, it’s so hard to talk about the future
  • I’m finding it hard to cope with feeling so sad
  • I get so scared about going for appointments and treatments
  • I’m really worried about how my family will cope while I’m in hospital for so long
  • I coped well all through my treatment so I don’t understand why I’m finding things so difficult now that I’m supposed to be better
  • Everything’s about the illness – I’m losing touch with who I am
  • I’m not the person I was before my treatment and it’s hard for my family to understand that we are trained to help with these and other issues.

Patients continue to need to talk to the clinical psychologist well after the end of their treatment.

I feel so privileged to be working for a charity that is so passionate about and dedicated to supporting those affected by haematological conditions. It is humbling to be able to support these people through some of the toughest times of their lives, and to help them find a way through their struggles.

Rachael Edge

How a psychologist might help you?

We use evidence-based psychological therapy which can help you to:

  • Make more sense of the situation
  • Consider the impact of the illness and it’s treatment on yourself and those around you
  • Look at how to harness your existing strengths in coping with things
  • Develop new approaches to coping and to see how they work out in practice
  • Work together to look at things from a different point of view
  • Work on the best ways for you to communicate with the people around you
  • Find ways of feeling more in control
  • Deal better with distressing thoughts and feelings

We do this not by telling you what to do but by working with you on solving your problem. We will decide together what sort of therapy might be helpful to you and then you will need to be ready to be actively involved in the therapy we agree on.

Will our discussions be confidential?

  • Yes. We do communicate our understanding of your problem to other professionals directly involved in your care as this can help them to provide care for you in the way that best meets your needs. However, there may be very personal matters that you are discussing with us and we will respect a request not to pass on details, subject to the requirements of the law: like other health professionals, psychologists are required to make a disclosure to the authorities if they hear about a serious criminal act or a serious child or adult safeguarding issue.

How can you be referred?

  • Anyone in your health care team can refer you to us, or you can contact us yourself (see contact details below)
  • If you aren’t sure about whether to access the service, you could discuss it with a member of your health care team, or you can get in touch with us and find out more about what would be involved
  • If you decide to go ahead, we will make contact with you. If you are in hospital we will come and introduce ourselves to you on the ward. If you are in the community we will send you an appointment letter or telephone you.
  • Usually we would see you at either Cheltenham General or Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. Home visits or appointments in other settings can occasionally be arranged (where appropriate).
  • Appointments can last up to an hour but can be shorter if this feels too long for you

We are flexible with how we work with patients and their families – sometimes people benefit from seeing Psychology just once or twice, while for others we offer longer term work over a period of months, or longer.

Contact Information
Health Psychology Department
Gloucestershire Royal Hospital
Tel: 0300 422 8523

Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4.00pm
(please note that messages may not be picked up each working day)